After reading Rupert Brooke’s poem, The Soldier, I gained a sense of love for his country and for what the war stood for. Compared to some of the other themes that the war poems portray, about how awful and dreadful the war is, this poem seemed to have a sense of pride for fighting and for his country. Because Brooke died in the early years of the war, could have effected his attitude and tone towards the war. In The Soldier, he writes:
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whome England bore, shaped, made aware
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of Englans’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dream happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends, an gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
After searching for articles, or diaries on the effects of wars on soldiers, I found one blog from a soldier who gave me a similar sense of pride and satisfaction from war, although it was for different reasons that Brooke. In the blog called, The Rollercoaster of War, a soldier talks about his combat experience. Smith’s world was soon taken over by bombings and gun battles everyday. Soon, the world outside of war seemed so insignificant to him. He states,
“Though it is difficult to explain why, I did not want to leave Iraq: I felt so grafted to the war, and the world beyond it seemed so insignificant. I remember a similar feeling as I left no man’s land between the Croatian and Serb armies back in 1995. But it was nothing compared with what I felt when my plane began the steep, ground fire-evasive, climb-out over Baghdad International Airport last week.”
Smith admits in his blog that there is an addiction to combat war, he writes:
”That is the most basic instinct of man. We live with fleeing or fighting and you have gone right in to the eyes of the fight. You will hear from so many that you are ‘out of your mind’ and ‘why did you go there?’ But only you will know why you did and why you miss it, because it is impossible to explain. It is something more than just adrenaline. There is a plaque in the training area of the [SEAL] teams that says, ‘Once man has hunted man, he will always hunger for it.’ Read whatever you want into that, but you are closer to understanding that than most will ever be.”
Brooke’s poem and this blog offer similar view points and attitudes toward the war. Brooke’s describes his loyalty to the war through his love for his country. Smith talks about the war with a similar attitude, only he enjoys how combat makes him feel as a man. It is interesting to see the similarities as well as differences with World War I and the current war in Iraq.
Brooke, Rupert: The Soldier, World War One British Poets, pg 3.
Smith, Thomas W Jr., “The Rollercoaster of War, 2007, http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=M2FjZTRiMzg2OWNkODZkNjM2ZDRjNGM3MmRhZmI4MjY=